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Full text of "Byzantine Churches In Constantinople"

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168                          BYZANTINE CHURCHES                        CHAP.
which bulked largely in the religious life witnessed in the churches of Byzantine Constantinople.
At the time referred to there dwelt in the city a deaf-mute, a well-known object of charity who supported himself by petty services in benevolent households. While thus employed by a family that resided near the church of the Holy Apostles, the poor man one night saw S. Theodosia in a dream, and heard her command to repair with tapers and incense to the church dedicated to her honour. Next morning the deaf-mute made his friends understand what had occurred during his sleep, and with their help found his way to the designated shrine. There he was anointed with the holy oil of the lamp before the saint's eikon, and bowed long in humble adoration at her feet. Nothing remarkable happened at the time. But on his homeward way the devout man felt a strange pain in his ear, and upon putting his hand to the sore place, what seemed a winged insect flew out and vanished from view. Wondering what this might mean, he entered the house in which he served, and set himself to prepare the oven in which the bread for the family was to be baked that day. But all his efforts to kindle the fire were in vain ; the wood only smoked. This went on so long that, like most persons under the same circumstancess the much-tried man lost his temper and gave way to the impulse to use bad language. Whereupon sonorous imprecations on the obstinate fuel shook the air. The bystanders could not believe their ears. They thought the sounds proceeded from some mysterious voice in the oven. But the deaf-mute protested that he heard his friends talking, and assured them that the words they heard were his own ; S. Theodosia had opened his ears and loosed his tongue. The news of the marvel spread far and wide and reached even the court. Andronicus II. sent for the young man, interrogated him, and was so deeply impressed by the tescital of what had happened that he determined to proceed to the church of S. Theodosia in state, and went thither with the patriarch and the senate, humbly on foot, and spent the whole night before the wonder-working shrine in prayer and thanksgiving.